Saturday, November 28, 2009
AZ Night Buzz, Tuscon's Music Guide, has featured an article about Mr. Gnome, calling them the "Next Big Thing"...
[aznightbuzz.com] If you thought a band with a name like Mr. Gnome was going to be cutesy or jokey, think again. The Cleveland duo embrace the word that is most often thrown their way – “schizophrenic,” crediting the label to the natural evolution of their sound and their unique male/female dynamic. It’s a word with a typically negative connotation that Mr. Gnome has accepted naturally and made their own.
“We never set out to sound a certain way and that’s probably why our music tends to be so schizophrenic,” singer/guitarist Nicole Barille said.
The delirious nature of their music comes from the way they contrast sounds and embrace dark and chaotic noise as well as more melodic musical moments. Barille combines soft, pretty vocals with guttural screams that sound a bit like what Subbacultcha described in a 2007 review as “Cat Power in a fistfight with Bjork.” But Blonde Redhead in a dreamy scuffle with My Bloody Valentine works, too. The style matches Barille’s quiet-then-explosive guitar playing, which is well buoyed by Sam Meister’s machine-gun percussion.
There’s also a sense of fearlessness in their music, which is carried through to Barille’s pre-show vocal prep ritual.
“My usual vocal warm-up is chugging a beer or taking a shot of whiskey,” she said.
The video to “Night of the Crickets” off the band’s 2008 debut album Deliver this Creature, is a fitting visual and auditory Mr. Gnome introduction.
This isn’t the band’s first trip to Tucson, where they have several ties and friends, including their booking agent, Kris Kerry of Lost Barrio Artists. And each time they have hit Plush’s stage, they have managed to grab more attention than just making friends with the locals.
If you are a regular AZNightBuzz reader, you have seen Mr. Gnome’s name before. Besides the aforementioned brief review, they have also been interviewed by Confirmation Hearings (click HERE for the full interview) prior to their show at Plush last June. But it turns out we aren’t the only one that thinks that Mr. Gnome’s odd name bears repeating.
Mr. Gnome is enjoying a healthy buzz in the blogosphere and has received its share of adulation from the likes of Rolling Stone, Spin and Bust magazines as well as indie tastemaker site Pitchfork Media. Their second full-length album, Heave Yer Skeleton (out this month on El Marko Records), is the result of an invitation to record at Pink Duck Studios in Los Angeles by Queens of the Stone Age engineer Justin Smith. The studio also just happens to be owned by Josh Homme, Queen of the Stone Age’s front man.
“We got invited to Pink Duck by Josh’s studio manager, Justin Smith. Just a regular ol’ phone call,” Barille said. “We wrote all the songs back in Cleveland and sent the demos over to Justin just so he could have a good idea of what this beast would sound like and maybe recording techniques he might want to try with us.”
Skeleton was also mixed at Butch Vig’s (well-known producer and the guitarist for the band Garbage) Smart Studios by Beau Sorenson (who has also worked with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse and Tegan and Sara).
So the moral of the story is, if it takes a band being backed by big names to get your interest, then you should be putting this show on your agenda right about… now.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 10:28 PM